This is the first blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2018 Science Boot Camp held at Brandeis University. Please watch for more posts about this event and from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks.
Kelsey Gibson – Simmons Graduate Student – Science Bootcamp for Librarians 2018
On June 12 I hopped in my car and drove just about five hours from Vermont down to Brandeis. Science Bootcamp had been on my radar for months but for some reason I still felt a little surprised that I was actually going. The scholarships given out by the planning committee offer a fantastic opportunity for LIS students. In my experience as an online student it is all too easy to feel isolated from the professional community and even other students. At Bootcamp, I made connections with other students and librarians that will serve me well as I finish my degree and move into the job search.
I attended the Wednesday morning activity and learned how to solder circuit cards in the Brandeis Maker Lab. The solder workshop was one of my favorite parts of Bootcamp, hands on learning and being able to make something (and it actually worked!) is incredibly satisfying.
This year’s topics were Ecology, Genetic Counseling, and Materials Science. Seth Fraden, the Brandeis physics professor used an analogy in the materials science lecture that has stuck with me: “Right now we plant seeds to grow trees to make lumber to build houses. I want to plant a seed and grow a house. That’s what materials science is about” (not an exact quote). All of the lectures excited me about the future of science and what these fields are doing and what it will mean for the next generations. The overall Bootcamp affect has me excited to continue my pursuits in librarianship and I want more than ever to work with the sciences and participate in the research process.
Although I was not very familiar with any of the lecture topics, I had heard of Retraction Watch, the topic of the evening lecture. Retraction Watch was particularly interesting for a group of librarians, demonstrating the impact that a well curated database has on research. A database of retractions is particularly important given the impact that erroneous or falsified data can have. If you want to consider the effects of a poorly done retraction, just look at the mess caused by the anti-vaccination “research.”
The Friday morning capstone session, on evaluating journals and data built on the Retraction Watch talk and taught us tools to determine which journals are more reliable, something most every librarian will take on at some point in their career.
On Thursday night we celebrated the 10th year of Science Bootcamp, complete with speeches and lots of pictures of Bootcamps past. The evening was lovely and casual and I hung out with my mentor and chatted with so many people about their experiences in librarianship and life. The lectures may be the “point” of Bootcamp, but connecting with other people who love their work and this profession is what makes Bootcamp a truly special experience.
I have to thank the Planning Committee and my lovely mentor, Ellen Lutz, for all the work they put in to make Bootcamp what it is.
The Official Duck of Science Bootcamp, currently living on my bookshelf.
For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming event, please visit this year’s website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.